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Point load Vs Distributed loads

  1. Nov 26, 2011 #1
    Hi all.
    Do we have a boundary (for classification) as to when a load can be called a point load or a distributed load?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2
    For practical purposes, I look at the region the load contacts compared to the total size of the beam or plate.

    For example, suppose you have a 30 foot long I-Beam with a lifting lug that is 1 foot long. I would model the lifting lug as a point load since it is quicker to analyze and conservative and the difference in the result is not very much.

    On the other hand, suppose you have a 20,000 lb liquid filled vessel with its saddles sitting on beams. In this case, a distributed load is justified for analyzing the supporting beams.
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